Sunday, September 29, 2013
Years later I still feel the shame. I was visiting a young man in a facility for people with severe brain injuries. He was agitated and eager to walk, so I joined him as he went from room to room and looked in each room as if he were searching for someone. Eventually we came to a big room that was not in use. At the far end a couple of janitors were at work buffing the floor. I saw that no one was sitting at any of the tables and said to the young man, “There’s nobody in here.”
Then, from the other side of the room, came the voice of one of the janitors. “What do you mean, nobody? We’re not nobody.”
I don’t recall what lame apology I offered, but I remember the heat rising in my cheeks. I really hadn’t seen those two men, although of course I’d registered that there were janitors at work. My mind was elsewhere.
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